Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Health insurance options for retirees

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Q. I recently read your comment regarding Medicare part A and Blue Cross coverage being sufficient for most retirees (according to NARFE). In your opinion, would Medicare parts A and B be sufficient for most retirees without Blue Cross coverage? It appears to me that route would be cheaper, but would the coverage be as good? Also, have there been any developments concerning self-plus-one rates for any of the health insurance policies offered to employees or retirees?

A. Only you can determine if the coverage would be as good for you. As for the self-plus-one option, OPM has postponed implementing it until next year.

Switching family health coverage

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Q. I am a retired USPS employee. Presently, I am enrolled with BCBS with self and family option. My wife wants to get Medicare Part B and cease to be enrolled with my FEHBP. Can my wife re-enroll with my plan if she decides to do so later on? Read the rest of this entry »

Benefits to Medicare Parts A & B

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Q. My wife works for the VA. I am covered under her BC/BS federal health insurance. I turn 65 in 30 days. Do I need to sign up for Medicare Parts A & B? If I need to sign up and if I use BC/BS plus medicare, are there any advantages? Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare Part A and Part B

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Q. I will turn 65 in July of this year. I’m retired through the CSRS. Should I enroll in Medicare Parts A and B? I’m enrolled in Blue Cross Blue Shield in the federal health insurance program and plan on keeping my insurance. If I take Parts A and B, how much would they cost?
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CSRS service and Medicare Part A fees

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Q. I have been CSRS with no broken service since 1978. I worked a few part time jobs when I was young, so I have only a few quarters of Social Security. When I turn 65 in a few years, I want to sign up for Medicare Part A and B. I know I will have to pay for Part B, but will my 36 years of CSRS be enough for me to get free Medicare Part A? Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare deductions from annuities

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Q. Will Medicare continue to be deducted until an employee is age 65, or do deductions stop once they retire (at age 59 or 60)? Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare

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Q. I’m enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program. It seems taking Part A of Medicare, which is free, can’t hurt. Is that true? How would taking Part B of Medicare help or hurt? I now also cover my wife and three children.

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Medicare

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Q. Does my wife have to sign up for Medicare? If so, when does she have to sign up? And, if my wife does not sign up for Medicare, will she incur any penalty?

Scenario: I am a working FERS employee and my wife still works. She is not a government employee. I have self-and-family Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage. I am not yet age 65. My wife will turn 65 this year.

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Medicare

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Q. I am retiring next month. I am over 70. I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield. If I get Medicare parts A and B, do I still need BC/BS?

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Medicare

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Q. I received notice that as of this month, Medicare will be deducting about $104 a month from my Social Security. My wife is 55 and employed. I am on her coverage. Must I have Medicare now if I am covered by my wife’s plan for another 10 years?

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Medicare refund?

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Q. I began work for the Department of Agriculture in April 1957, and continued until Oct. 24, 1957, when I was drafted into the Army. I was honorably discharged Oct. 23, 1959, and returned to work for the USDA, where I continued to work until I retired Oct. 31, 2006. During my tenure with the USDA, I was covered under CSRS.

I have spoken to several federal employees about my retirement. Since I retired with more than 41 years and nine months under CSRS but continued to pay my Medicare until my retirement date of Oct. 31, 2006, they told me that I was entitled to a refund for these payments.

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Dependents

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Q. I am enrolled in Blue Cross/Blue Shield under the federal employee program. I’m also approaching 65. I have two children under age 18. Will Medicare be primary for them also?

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Medicare Part D

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Q. When I sign up for Medicare at the qualifying age of 65, am I required to get a Part D (prescription drugs) insurance plan since federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield has a prescription coverage included in it?

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Medicare Part B

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Q. I am 61 years old, a retired postal worker. My husband is turning 65 in July. I carry our medical insurance, Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Should my husband sign up for Medicare Part B, or is he required to do so?

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Medicare

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Q. Does my wife have to sign up for Medicare? If so, when does she have to sign up? And, if my wife does not sign up for Medicare, will she incur any penalty?

Scenario: I am a working FERS employee, my wife still works and she is not a government employee. I have self-and-family Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage. I am not yet age 65. My wife will turn 65 this year.

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Retiring now

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Q. I am 64 years old with 28 years in the post office, all FERS. I would like to retire in March. How long will it take for my Social Security checks, my Thrift Savings Plan account and my Postal Service pension checks to begin? I would like to continue my current health plan and apply for Medicare ASAP. I would also like to keep my current life insurance plans.

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Suspending FEHB

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Q. I will become Medicare qualified as of April 1. Is it possible for me to suspend my coverage? If so, are there any penalty/requirements? Is there a waiting period to get back in to the plan?

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Medicare Part B

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Q. I have reached retirement age and applied for Medicare. I signed up for Medicare Part A but am unsure if I must sign up for Medicare Part B. I have Federal Employees Health Benefits and carried it into retirement. I assume my FEHB will cover the same items as Medicare Part B. Do I have to sign up for Medicare Part B and be charged for Medicare Part B as long as I have FEHB coverage? Seems like the only one gaining on this is the FEHB plan as second payer for physicians’ services.

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FEHB and disabled dependent

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Q. My 21-year-old daughter is disabled (diagnosed with osteosarcoma at age 14, limb salvage and metastatic). My husband retired from the Postal Service a few years ago, and she has been continued on our insurance plan through Federal Employees Health Benefits as she is under age 26.

1. At age 26, will she be allowed to remain on our FEHB insurance, which is her current primary coverage. She is on SSI and also has state Medicaid, which is her current secondary insurance coverage.

2. When my husband turns 65 and is Medicare eligible, will we be able to keep her as a child adult daughter on FEHB?

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Medicare Part B

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Q. I read an answer here that cleared up part of my confusion: “If you are retired and have (FERS) coverage and you have Medicare A and Medicare B, you will have very little out-of-pocket expenses.” That answers my question if I should have Medicare B. Now, how do I know what Medicare B is going to cost? I have about 10-18 people calling me every day, wanting to sign me up for Medicare. Should I sign up with one of these people, or should I sign up through the Office of Personnel Management? My 65th birthday is in April, so I have to make a decision.

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